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In this age, no sensible person ought to do without asking what is indispensable to learn.

Now, which ought to/should is it?

ought 1

aux.v.
1.Used to indicate obligation or duty: You ought to work harder than that.
2.Used to indicate advisability or prudence: You ought to wear a raincoat.
3.Used to indicate desirability: You ought to have been there; it was great fun.
4.Used to indicate probability or likelihood: She ought to finish by next week.


Comments  
Either or both of these:

2.Used to indicate advisability or prudence: You ought to wear a raincoat.
3.Used to indicate desirability: You ought to have been there; it was great fun.
Hi,

In this age, no sensible person ought to do without asking what is indispensable to learn.

I have two more comments.

1. 'what is indispensable to learn' does not sound correct to me. A thing is usually indispensable to/for some other thing.

eg Hard work is indispensable for learning.

2. Overall, I find it hard to see what this sentence means.

Best wishes, Clive
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Clive2. Overall, I find it hard to see what this sentence means.

Best wishes, Clive

There seems to be another person who has the same problem as you have, Clive.

You can see the entire text here as well.

http://www.nntpnews.net/f432/what-indispensable-learn-again-1295046/
Hi,

In this age, no sensible person ought to do without asking what is indispensable to learn.

I think part of my difficulty in comprehending is due to the sentence's use of two 'negative' terms,

ie 'no . . person' and 'indispensable'.

Clive
TakaIn this age, no sensible person ought to do without asking what is indispensable to learn.

Now, which ought to/should is it?

ought 1

aux.v.
1.Used to indicate obligation or duty: You ought to work harder than that.
2.Used to indicate advisability or prudence: You ought to wear a raincoat.
3.Used to indicate desirability: You ought to have been there; it was great fun.
4.Used to indicate probability or likelihood: She ought to finish by next week.


http://education.yahoo.com/reference/dictionary/entry/ought

The sentence as a whole doesn't make much sense to me, but regardless of that, ought can be interpreted as any of the first three "ought"s, which are, to me, the same (deontic) "ought" in varying guises. If I had to choose one, I'd say Number 2, because I think the main thrust of deontic "ought" / "should" is contained in the concept of advisability.

It's definitely not the (epistemic) "ought" of reasonable expectation (Number 4.)

CJ
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I totally agree with you, Jim.

The book I have says, believe it or not, it's #4, so I asked the question.

Thank you, Jim.

By the way, why do you not think that the sentence itself makes sense?
No sensible person ought to do without asking what is indispensable to learn.
Takawhy do you not think that the sentence itself makes sense?
Too many ambiguities. Too much guessing required to determine the meaning. Result: incoherence.

1. Confusion with the idiom to do without.

No sensible person ought to do without a phone.
No sensible person ought to do without a vacation once a year.
No sensible person ought to do without a dictionary.

???No sensible person ought to do without asking this question.

Or is the meaning, No one ought to act without first asking this question?

2. Odd use of indispensable as if it were an adjective with the grammar of easy.

What is indispensable for cutting a cake? A knife.
What is indispensable for building a dog house? Wood. Hammer. Nails.
What is indispensable for learning English? A dictionary.

What is indispensable for learning? A good teacher.

What is easy to read? Children's books.

What is easy to understand? Elementary arithmetic.

What is easy to learn? Correct spelling.

--???What is indispensable to learn?
-- Correct spelling.
OR
--???What is indispensable to learn? (as an odd subsitute for What is indispensable for learning?
--A good teacher.

____

I think, but I'm not sure, that the author is trying to say

No sensible person ought to learn anything before asking whether it is absolutely necessary to learn it.

but has not got his meaning across very well.

CJ